"My favorite thing about romance is that it's like real life - but the way you wish life could be."
- Louisa Edwards
Louisa Edwards grew up in Virginia, surrounded by the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. By age 11, she was sneaking Harlequins out of her visiting grandmother's suitcase, making her parents nervous about what, precisely, their little girl was learning from those books. Naturally, they were relieved when Louisa decided to attend Bryn Mawr College, hoping the Seven Sisters vibe might instill the intellectual rigor she thus far seemed to lack.
To their dismay, however, even the ivy-covered halls of Bryn Mawr couldn't distract Louisa from her addiction to romances. Instead, she traded in her Harlequins for longer, juicier single titles, reading everything from Laura Kinsale to Jennifer Cruisie. She also managed to graduate cum laude with a degree in Romance Languages (which is not as sexy as it sounds - mostly she studied Spanish, French, and Italian literature, although some of that French stuff did get fairly racy.)
After graduation, Louisa moved to Manhattan, landing a job as an editorial assistant at Penguin Group (USA), where she worked directly for the smart, savvy president of Mass Market Paperbacks, Leslie Gelbman, who guided Louisa as she built her own list.
Vindication! It was possible to make a living from reading romance novels. Louisa's parents were equal parts surprised and thrilled. While at Berkley, Louisa was lucky enough to work with some great authors, assistant editing Leslie's heavy hitters, Nora Roberts and Jayne Ann Krentz. Louisa's own list included, among others, Lucy Monroe, Jennifer St. Giles, and Shelley Bradley. All of which led to Louisa being promoted to assistant editor.
Then real life romance ensued: Louisa married a journalist and was promptly exiled to Ohio so her husband could work for his family's newspaper. There Louisa started reviewing romances for FreshFiction.com and took a part-time job at the Culinary Vegetable Institute. Personal interaction with chefs, plus the limited repertoire of local restaurants stoked Louisa's interest in food. She began critiquing restaurants for the local newspaper, got sucked into Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen, trailed a chef friend at his restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina, started cooking her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and decided to bring it all together by writing CAN'T STAND THE HEAT.
Now she awaits the response of the masses to her foodie-inspired romance. Meanwhile, Louisa will continue to eat in as many wonderful restaurants as possible - purely for research, of course.